Finding preceptor for CNS program

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    I am hoping to start grad school for clincial nurse specialist. I live in a rural part of Arkansas that does not use CNS's. I was told I would have to find my own preceptor when it's time to do clincials. For all you nurses with a CNS degree how did you find your clinical preceptor. Did you have help arranging this part of the program. Live 70 miles from Memphis and 130 miles from Little Rock. Those are the closest big cities that would utilize a CNS but don't know how to get started in finding one. The school I am interested in getting my degree from is in Alabama so they are unfamiliar with this part of the country.
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    Call the education dept. of various hospitals in Memphis. Most are teaching hospitals because there is a medical school and several nursing schools there. Another suggestion is to get a list of APN's in Arkansas from your state board. You might have to pay for the addresses but it would give you a jumping off place. I have MSN but am not APN so probably would not qualify. Don't know if there is a professional organization for CNS's, but if so they might have information too. Good luck!
    nyforlove likes this.
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    When I was doing my CNS clinicals, I chose the institution where I wanted to do my clinicals and then I called nursing administration and explained my situation to whoever answered the telephone. They would then put me in contact with whoever I needed to speak to. That was always the easy part. THEN I had to find out whether or not my school had a contract with that particular hospital which in 100% of the cases, they did not. It was then up to me to find out who I needed to speak to and make the arrangements for the contract agreement. This was a very big deal and the contracts did not always happen so you have to start on this very early in the process. Good luck!
    nyforlove likes this.
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    I am right there with you. I am trying to find a preceptor for Perinatal MSN program. I finally think I may have found a facility to work w/ me where there are multiple possibilities for a preceptor. It is 2 hours from home, but it is a really great place to learn and in a nice area. I am doing educator, but need to be w/ a PerinatalNP or WHNP/CNM for a health assessment course. The pickings are a bit slim in my immediate area too. Have you tried the national CNS organization. They may also have a directory of members which might be helpful. Their website is: http://www.nacns.org
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    You might try posting this in the CNS forum.
    http://allnurses.com/forums/f119/

    David Carpenter, PA-C
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    Will take the liberty and move this to the CNS Forum.

    It also depends on what area that you are getting your CNS training in as to how easy that it will be to find a preceptor for you.
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    Thanks Suzanne! I'm an adult health CNS and I too had to find my own preceptors. However, I was able to use NPs because in IL there is no difference in the nurse practice act between NP and CNS. That expanded my field considerably. Do you have a specialty or area of interest? Perhaps this could be the trigger to get you started.
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    I had a very hard time with finding a preceptor for my CNS program in Ct. Most places wouldn't take me because they didn't have a contract with my college which is in VA. The APN's I contacted generally didn't want a student or were too busy. I finally ended up just doing my clinical at the birth center where I work with the Midwives. The program only required that I be with an Advanced Practice Nurse- didn't necessarily have to be a CNS although I'm sure they would have preferred it. We don't see alot of CNS's here either unless it's psych. Otherwise it's mostly NP's and CNM's. Good luck in your search! It's interesting how there is such a nursing shortage and yet so many nurses that are working just aren't available to precept....:spin:
    nyforlove likes this.
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    Are you planning to relocate after you finish your degree & certification, or what?? I completed a psych CNS program many years ago and returned home only to find that nobody in my area was familiar with or interested in hiring psych CNSs -- something I hadn't really paid attention to before I went to grad school ... I found a teaching position (nursing) right away, through some personal connections I already had, but spent a very long, discouraging time looking for a clinical position, until I just happened to run across a clinic director who had moved to my area from somewhere else and was accustomed to psych CNSs and what they could do (he couldn't believe his good fortune that there was a child psych CNS sitting around looking for a job, who hadn't been snapped up long ago by someone else -- go figure!) I've done the "lone crusader trying to change the attitudes of all the healthcare employers in the area" thing, and, not only is it v. lonely and tedious slog (and it don't pay well, either!!), but the chances of your being successful by yourself are not great.

    I'm definitely not trying to discourage you from following your dream, but I think it's important to be aware of all that you're getting into, not just how you're going to find a preceptor for your education. If there aren't any working CNSs in your field nearby to serve as preceptors for you, that's important info to pay attention to in terms of your future employment possibilities ...

    Best wishes --
    nyforlove likes this.
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    I definitely plan on relocating after school as there are no opportunities for a CNS in the area where I live. I would like to stay in this area until I am finished with school as I am in the process of nearly paying off my mortgage. Thanks to all for your answers and good advice. I appreciate it.


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